Winter's warm, dry indoor environments, combined with holiday socializing puts us at greater risk for exposure to viruses and bacteria that can make us sick. To protect your family's health:
1. Stay hydrated. Dry mucus membranes are more susceptible to infection. Enjoy warming seasonal drinks, such as organic herbal teas, hot cocoa, apple cider and soups. Use a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier to moisten the air in your home.
2. Wash hands. This low-tech method ranks number one in disease prevention. For healthy populations, antibacterial soaps, lotions and wipes do not offer an advantage over plain soap and water, and may even contribute to antibiotic resistance. (7)
3. Cough and sneeze into your sleeve. If you use a handkerchief, tissue, or your hand instead, discard tissues after use, and wash your hands. Have a laugh with this video on how to correctly sneeze into your sleeve: www.coughsafe.com/media.html
4. Stay home and rest if you're sick.
5. Get adequate sleep.
6. Avoid taking antibiotics for upper respiratory viral infections, such as colds, bronchitis most sore throats and the flu. Antibiotics are best used to fight bacterial infections such as pneumonia or strep throat.
7. Take medications as prescribed. If you are given an antibiotic, finish your entire course; avoid skipping doses, and don't share your prescription with other family members.
8. Contact your doctor if:
* your symptoms get worse or linger;
* you experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
* after you feel better, you develop fever, nausea, chest pain or chills.